In cases involving divorced or separated parents of minor children in Illinois, one parent is nearly always responsible for making child support payments to the other. Although Illinois law on child support is quite clear, this does not necessarily prevent parents from experiencing conflict over child support, especially when one parent is reluctant to pay or struggles to make payments while also affording their own lifestyle. But while the government bureaucracy that manages unpaid child support works slowly and perhaps inefficiently, it has enormous power to take action to recover unpaid child support. To avoid running into legal issues around child support, it is important to make sure you understand the law.
Do My Ex and I Get to Decide Child Support Payments?
Parents are generally encouraged to work together to create their own parenting plan, including their parenting time, or visitation, schedule. As long as a parenting plan meets the state’s requirements, parents can be quite flexible about how they divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. Child support, in contrast, is typically decided according to a state formula called the Income Shares Schedule. While there is still some room for flexibility and exigent circumstances, child support payments tend to be much more rigid.
Each parent’s net income is first determined by deducting any expenses like taxes, already existing child support or alimony payments, or healthcare payments that a parent already makes for the child. Then, the parents’ incomes are totaled together and a percentage of that amount is considered the overall child support obligation, a portion of which each parent is responsible for. The portion of the overall obligation a parent is responsible for depends on how much time the child spends with the parent and how much of the overall obligation the parent makes.
There are calculators online that can give you a general sense of how much child support you will make or receive. However, be aware that certain circumstances that are not included in the calculator can affect the amount of payments. For example, a child whose parents agree to send the child to a private school may require higher support payments; likewise, a child who has urgent, ongoing healthcare needs may require larger support payments, whether the parents agree or not. In cases where the parents disagree, a judge may get involved and set the support payment.
Call an Experienced Chicago, IL Child Support Attorney
Regardless of whether you are the parent making or receiving child support payments, you want to make sure you know the law and understand your rights and obligations to your child. For help determining what your child support payments will be, and for assistance with every other aspect of your divorce, parenting plan, or paternity adjudication, contact NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq today at 312-442-2225. Our Chicago, IL child support lawyers offer free, confidential consultations.